It’s been a while since the foodie group of the Herd met. Ria and Tjader were up from Davao, because of the World Cyber Games. So new mom Kathy, eager to see the outside world again, organized a dinner last Friday night. [Before this, the last time we met was at Cyma in Greenbelt 2 last year, where only Mike, Kathy, Dondi and I were able to attend. And before that, we were all at Isshin Ramen along Paseo de Roxas the year before: Jag & Imee (with the charming Soleil), Mike & Kathy, Ria and myself.]

We all met at Powerbooks, where Imee said staff were checking her out because of her copy of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight that she had brought for Kathy. We decided on Zuni , a Mediterranean restaurant & wine bar in Greenbelt 5. [The other restos along the same strip were Felix (nouvelle Chinois), and Myron’s Steakhouse.]

A Manansala painting of a carabao graced the wall next to our table. Ceilings were high, the place was warmly lit, people were in dressy casuals even though Zuni is considered fine dining. Imee had a very pretty beef carpaccio. Jag, Dondi and Esmi had a salad with roast chicken before moving onto their main courses. Ria had the Zuni salad, which looks like something I’d order if I returned there. Kathy had the beef tenderloin. Mike had French onion soup with lots of bubbly mozzarella on top before his main dish. I had the lamb rack in garam masala sauce (lamb curry, folks) with Cerveza Negra. Esmi ordered the Pasta Bolognese, while Dondi had the Chilean sea bass. Tjader practically inhaled his food so we didn’t realize he had already finished. The conversations just flowed.

In general everyone enjoyed their food, although Dondi found the sea bass on the bland side. Jag was thinking that Zuni, being a fine dining restaurant, shouldn’t serve the rice in a cup shape like they do at neighborhood carinderias. The salads all seemed like winners — fresh, zesty, beautifully arranged.

To clean up our palates, some of us had gelato from that stall in Greenbelt 3 (past Cafe Bola, near the escalators). Dondi had limoncello (I think) and I had nocciola. Dondi treated everyone to coffee at Figaro. Apparently he’s no longer with an ad agency, but does in-house work for a market-leader publishing firm we all know. While we were having coffee, Mike was in his element playing baril-barilan at the nearby TimeZone next to some trigger-happy little kids. The evening broke up at around 11pm, as people were eager to get back to their kids whom they had left with their parents.

Ria and Tjader will still be here for the next two months.

We really should do this again.